SLOPE COLLIERY HISTORICAL SITE
The Gravity Slope Colliery was opened in 1913 when the White Oak
At one time there were 1700 men employed at the Gravity Slope Colliery
and three full shifts worked day and night. There were 120 mules in use
and it used to be a sight every morning when the boys would drive the
mules from the old White Oak Mule Barn down the tracks to the mines.
The main mine, which was a slope and was appropriately named Gravity
Slope after the colliery, was open in 1911.
The Gravity Slope Colliery was the center of activity in town
years. In 1942, the conveyor line to the top of the breaker collapsed
and the breaker was permanently shut down. The coal from the still
working colliery was shipped to the Powderly Breaker in Carbondale and
the Marvin Breaker in Scranton. Soon afterwards the Gravity Slope
Breaker was dismantled. The mines at the colliery were worked until
1955 when water began seeping through the coal seams into the Delaware
& Hudson mines from the shutdown Riverside mines. This became
much for the mine pumps to handle. On October 4, 1955, the Gravity
Slope Colliery shut down for good, ending the Delaware & Hudson
mining in the Borough, one hundred and ten years after their first mine
opened in 1845.
The Gravity Slope presently consists of a completely overgrown site
with three buildings, the Shifting Shanty, the Fan House and the Oil
House. The buildings are in disrepair due to a lack of repair and
maintenance. The entry to the mine is also present on the site. The
opening has been sealed, but is recognizable and will be used as a site
This building is approximately 654 sq. ft. with a 216 sq. ft. exterior
concrete slab. The building was used to store bulk shipments of oil
that was then pumped into smaller containers to be transported by
oilers for lubrication of mining cars, lifts, fans and gears and
This is the largest building on the site (approximately: 3800 square
feet). This is the location where the miners changed shifts. It
provided them with a place to store their gear and equipment. and
toilet and shower facilities. The original appearance has been altered.
The alterations were performed when the shifting shanty was no longer
needed and the building was changed into an equipment repair facility.
were cut in the exterior walls to allow for garage doors to be
installed for equipment
This building is approximately 1963 sq. ft. with utility crawl space.
The fan was used to draw fresh air through the mines thereby protecting
miners from smog, coal dust, and dangerous gases. The Guibal Fan is one
of only two such I fans known to remain in the Northeast Anthracite
region. It is believed that the large Guibal Fan was originally powered
by a coalfired steam engine prior to 1925. After 1925 the use of
electricity grew. It is believed that at this time due to Electricity's
efficiency and economical cost, an addition was added to this building
to house the electrical power distribution system for the site as well
as an electric motor to power the fan.
Who We Are
Since 2005, a group of volunteers known as the Gravity Slope Committe,
a non-profit organization, has been working to restore the three
Gravity Slope Colliery buildings in an effort to fulfill their mission
to preserve the proud history and culture of the Gravity Slope
A recently completed structural survey by KBA Engineering,
determined that the basic structures of all three buildings are stable.
However renovations are needed to bring them to a useable condition.
The Committee plans to convert the Oil House, Shifting Shanty, and Fan
House into a visitor's center, museum, and restored Guibal Fan House
Where We Are
The Gravity Slope is located on Laurel Street in Archbald Borough
between the railroad and the Lackawanna River at the entrance to the
Rails- To- Trails portion of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail. More
definitive directions will be available when
the Gravity Slope web site is developed.
What is Our Vision?
The Gravity Slope Committee would like to transform the site
park in remembrance of a significant period of local history. Several
goals for the three old mine buildings have been established.
First, the Oil House will become a reception center where
register. It may also be home to a small gift or snack area.
The old Shifting Shanty will be converted into a museum of mining
artifacts designed to help a visitor understand the hardships under
which miners and their families lived their lives. This building will
also contain an area where educational sessions can occur and perhaps
the main gift shop. Most important, part of the Shifting Shanty will
remain as it did over 100 years ago. When this area is entered, you
will see firsthand how a miner started and ended his long, hard,
dangerous struggle to provide food for his family and heat for
thousands of homes from New York to Philadelphia.
In the Fan house, the rare Guibal Fan will be made
functional and visitors can appreciate the importance of this piece of
equipment and how it allowed miners to labor hundreds of feet below
ground under extremely difficult conditions.
How Can I Get Involved?
To fund this endeavor, in addition to grant money, the
offer various levels of membership, sell pavers for a miner walkway,
accept donations of cash and artifacts, develop admission fees, and
solicit local businesses for financial support. Watch for an upcoming
public notice about purchasing a Miner Walkway Brick or Paver. More
information will be available when the Gravity Slope web site is
completed. In the meantime, please call: 570-876-1800.
The Gravity Slope Committee is currently compiling a collection of
items dating back to the mining era. The items can be permanently
donated or given on loan. Donation Forms are available now. Please
include any personal information, if known, since every artifact will
relate a special story. All artifacts will be catalogued and those who
donated them will be identified. If you have an item from the mining
era that may be of historic significance, please request a Donation
Form by contacting: Archbald Borough at 570-876-1800.
Back to Top